Cricket

WPL 2024: Who Is Shobhana Asha? RCB Spinner Who Wrecked UP Warriorz In Bengaluru

Royal Challengers Bangalore is the team that lost hope way too early in the 2023 WPL season. But it is a new season, and they have emerged with new stars, new hopes, and new trends kicking off the WPL 2024 season with a first-match win over the formidable UP Warriorz, all thanks to Shobhana Asha's impressive 5-wicket haul

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Asha Shobhana celebrates RCB's win over UP warriorz, in Women's Premier League 2 February 24, Saturday, 2024.
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The first match of the Women's Premier League 2024 for Royal Challengers Bangalore marked a victorious turnaround. It was not just a match win but a sign of redemption they have been seeking from last year's disappointment. Smriti Mandhana and co. won the match against UP warriorz by a narrow 2-run margin but not without developing a star made of goldust, that is Shobhana Asha, who notably became the first Indian player to claim five wickets in the Women's Premier League on February 24, Saturday in Bengaluru. (More Cricket News)

Hard work pays off! And no one proves it better than Asha at the moment. The Journey from domestic cricket, playing for Kerala, Puducherry, and Railways and to finally being picked by RCB in the WPL auction for INR 10 Lakh, propelled the 32-year-old to become one of the best spinners in India.

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In 2023, Asha, a leg spinner and a middle-order batter concluded the WPL season with just 5 wickets and an economy rate of 8.35. She was not even included in the RCB's initial Playing XI, she wasn't recognized. However, in 2024, she was chosen, and it was probably the best choice the team made.

 Shobhana devastated the UP Warriorz who were quite confident in need of just 32 off 24 balls with seven wickets in hand to meet the target of 158 runs. With her spell of 5 for 22 runs in just four overs, the right-arm legbreaker changed the game. She dismissed Vrinda Dinesh, Tahlia MacGrath, Shweta Sehrawat, Grace Harris, and Kiran Navgire, shattering the hopes of the warriorz, who had reached the eliminator round in 2023 where RCB finished fourth, narrowly ahead of Gujarat Giants, based on a better run rate.

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The strategy to throw off the goods of the Warriorz was made early in mind, this is how Asha explained it, "I visualised, did my homework as well. I was ready."

"Grace was going against the turn, and I knew if I pulled the length back and slowed it up, she might go across the line and get a top edge or get bowled. I was ready to get smashed, but I was sure I would get her (out)" she said.

The performance by Asha Shobhana last night somehow resembled the brilliance of cricket legends who inspired her to pursue a cricket career. Sachin Tendulkar's pursuit of Shane Warne during a match against Australia in 1998 motivated her to take up the sport. Similarly, Stuart MacGill, her role model's reflection was seen at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium las night, who shares the same characteristics as her - a right-arm leg spinner and a right-hand batter.

When Shobhana Asha was 13 years old, she joined the Trivandrum Cricket Team in her home state of Kerala. Later on, her ambition to play cricket at a senior level began to take shape. Growing up she faced financial challenges with her father being the sole earner as a driver with a limited source of income. Despite it all, the family never stopped in what was destined for their daughter. She is now the star player of RCB in the Women's Premier League and dreams of being a part of India's National team one day.

After winning the match the bowler from Kerala said, "I am not thinking about my five wickets. We just won our first game at home. Nothing's bigger than that. I am happy that I contributed to the victory of the team that too at Chinnaswamy ground."

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